Over the years, we have seen the architectural wonders of the world being shaped as per times and material available. As the wonders of steel were discovered, it became an integral part of the construction industry. Today, some of the largest and strongest structures around the world are made of steel and they are becoming the wonders of the modern world. The reasons for this are manifold. Being one of the most extensively used materials, it is easily available at every place. There are many reasons why steel is so widely used in the construction industry. As steel is lightweight, it is easier to transport from one place to another – thus reducing cost and labour. Steel has a high strength to weight ratio, thus making it much stronger and reducing the quantity which in turn reduces cost of building. Added to these, steel is also a sustainable resource that is eco-friendly. Now, let’s take a look at some of the steel structures that have become iconic over the years:
One of the seven wonders of the world, today, the Eiffel Tower represents the country on the world map. It was built in 1889, and was the world’s tallest tower for almost 42 years before the Chrysler Building came up. It is 324 metres tall and weighs 10,100 tonnes. It required 2.5 million thermally assembled rivets 7300 tonnes of wrought iron, the precursor to steel. The design was latticed to prove that it could be as strong as stone while being lighter.
The Brooklyn Bridge was the first steel-wire suspension bridge. It was built in 1869 and was so heavy that it took a decade to build. It is 130 years old and is the oldest bridge in New York that allows vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Looking at the strength and design, the architect hailed steel as the ‘metal of the future’. To prove the strength of the new bridge, a herd of 21 elephants crossed the bridge in 1884.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
This is the world’s largest steel-arch bridge and is an iconic structure for not just Australia, but for the world. The total steel work is 52,800 tones where the arch makes up for 39,000 tonnes. It has a 49m wide deck that includes a whopping eight lanes of traffic, two train lines, a cycle path and footpath.
One of the modern architectural wonders, the Burj Khalifa stands at a staggering 2716.5 feet. It holds the world record for the tallest building in the world, and is the tallest freestanding structure in the world with 163 floors above the ground. The building required 330,000 cubic metres of concrete, 39,000 metres of reinforced steel, 15,500 sqm of embossed stainless steel and 103,000 sqm of glass. With such detailing and intricate design, the Burj Khalifa also holds the world record for several other things.
Empire State Building
This internationally renowned building was the tallest building for 41 years before being surpassed by the World Trade Centre. Despite the monumental size of the building, it took only 20 months – from design to construction. It is 1250 feet tall and was built between 1930 – 31. It comprises of 60,000 tonnes of steel, 200,000 feet of Indiana limestone and granite, 10 million bricks and 730 tonnes of aluminium and steel. The stability of the structure is derived from steel columns and beams.